September 15, 2021

"In the last 15 years, less than 0.01% of print features and critical pieces [in The New Yorker] were edited by a Black editor."

"More women were able to publish profiles in the magazine between 1925 and 1935 than between 1990 and 2000. And over the last 30 years, spanning 1990 to 2020, zero reviews of cinema, the fine arts, or classical music were published by either women or writers of color....  Erin Overbey, the magazine's own archive editor [tweeted]: "Let's talk about racism! Most white people at prestigious magazines don't ever want to talk about race or diversity at all. Why? It's primarily because they've been allowed to exist in a world where their mastheads resemble member registries at Southern country clubs circa 1950."

This strikes me as very odd. I subscribe to The New Yorker and read it all the time, and I had the impression that the magazine was going out of its way to bring in black writers and women writers.

53 comments:

rhhardin said...

Getting 0.01% is going to require math, so she probably got it wrong.

rhhardin said...

Dorothy Parker

Lincolntf said...

They were both pandering and deliberately deceiving you, Ann.

I'm Not Sure said...

"Let's talk about racism!"

Oh, goody! That's something nobody ever does anymore.

tcrosse said...

However popular the cartoons were, I read it for the articles.

Balfegor said...

member registries at Southern country clubs circa 1950.

I assume this is just a casual expression of anti-Southron prejudice, but I do suspect that more Southern clubs than Northeastern clubs were open to Jews in 1950. Northeastern clubs being just as closed to Blacks too, of course.

But I may be too hard on the Northeastern clubs. It's hard to reconstruct exactly what the parameters of past discrimination looked like, though, because modern people (including myself) regularly assume past generations were more rigorously prejudiced than they actually were. Thus, a contemporary account of the 1968 NYAC boycott claims:

This all came to a head at the New York Athletic Club's annual indoor track meet, where the NYAC's membership policy prohibited Puerto Rican, Black and Jewish members.

while a contemporary account from 1968 notes:

And the issue at stake—the crusty old Irish-dominated club's refusal to admit Negroes and all but a few Jews into its hallowed dining rooms and steambaths—was almost irrelevant.

I.e. Jews were apparently not, in fact, barred from membership in 1968. Contrary to what I had believed to be the case.

stutefish said...

Something about that stat seems off somehow. If the New Yorker has 20 editors, and only one of them is black, you'd expect something around 5% of articles to be edited by the black editor. Obviously this can go lower if the paper is giving most of its work to the other 19 editors. But once you dip below maybe 1% or so, what is that one editor even doing? Wouldn't the publisher be asking why this guy is still on the payroll when he's hardly doing any work at all? Wouldn't this guy be asking serious questions about why he has an office and a desk and an editorial position, but is never given anything to edit?

Jamie said...

I had the impression that the magazine was going out of its way to bring in black writers and women writers.

And an impression is all it was. Just like the impression people on the left have that people on the right are racists... or that Trump/Bush (either one)/Reagan is a crazed warmonger... or that Americans (excepting people on the right, who hardly qualify as people, much less Americans) broadly share a deep concern that the transgendered feel validated in all they do.

Maynard said...

That .01% statistic suggests that The New Yorker had at least 10,000 print features and critical pieces in 15 years, assuming there was only one Black editor. If there was one Black editor per year, the number would be 150,000 articles. That seems like an awful lot of "journalism".

I do not read that mag, but I am wondering if that number sounds right.

Math is hard for leftists, so I apologize for those who are stressed by my question.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

They say “black editors” and Althouse notes increased emphasis on black writers being featured. This is the SOP by institutions run by white liberals: hire the indigenous weather girl and put her on every billboard montage for Local News, run more black writers by the panel of all-white all-liberal editorial staff, pretend the Squad represents anything other than their four districts while very old very white liberals run Congress. Or be like Joe and blatantly blurt out only black women need apply! See how well it’s working out for that affirmative action hire!

Narayanan said...

It should be an easy question / exercise - does The New Yorker have black editors and what is their work output

wildswan said...

Apparently there's difference between the online and the print edition of the New Yorker in terms of hiring diversity. Which are you using?

tastid212 said...

I'm going to leave aside the thorny question of whether "less than" or "fewer than" is more appropriate when referring to percentages.

I'm only an occasional reader of The New Yorker, but when I do pick up a copy, like Althouse I am struck by the frequent pieces apparently by female and black writers and about black subjects. The particular objection lodged seems very narrow and thus petty: that these stories are not EDITED by people of color. Were The New Yorker to hire one (more?) black editor, the percentage might skyrocket. Problem solved.

By the way, the cartoons - the most read part of the magazine - do seem to feature mostly white characters (when they're not peopled by dogs).

Gospace said...

Pretty good at leaving a false impression, aren't they?

Jarby said...

I doubt it's for lack of trying. I would ask: how many black (especially women!!) journalism writers are there? How many editors? Are there large swathes of unemployed black film reviewers or fine art critics? My guess is however many there are, they are snatched up by every magazine, newspaper, or independent publication that needs those precious, precious diversity points.

Bill Peschel said...

Remember when editors cared if the product was good? Those were the good old days.

Instead, we get nice, cheap words, designed to make them feel better.

wildswan said...

Perhaps the editorial page is white and male as a Southern country club of the Fifties but is earnestly trying to bring in women and black writers and the feminist and black point of view in the articles. Filtering out all black conservatives just as Harvard does - which might not happen if the editorial board and the Harvard leadership wasn't trying so hard to pass as Black wymin.

Robert Marshall said...

I love that "Southern country clubs circa 1950" crack.

You think they mean that club in "Southern Rhode Island" that Sheldon Whitehouse is about to force to integrate . . . any day now?

Yeah, the Yanks love that sense of superiority they get, when contemplating the great unwashed of the flyover states. The Sahara of the Bozart.

To me, all that matters is your job aptitude and attitude. I'm tired of all the sorting and counting by race, gender, creed, color, sexual orientation, genitalia or lack thereof, etc. etc. etc. "Diversity" means nothing to me, good or bad; talent and work ethic should be all that matter.

Someone please give me a shout-out when they're coming for me with the buckets of hot tar, bags of feathers, and a rail. Thanks!

Kai Akker said...

---very odd. I subscribe to The New Yorker and read it all the time, and I had the impression that the magazine was going out of its way to bring in black writers and women writers. [AA]

And the NYT reports on news, is that your defense??

Dum, da dum-dum-DUM!

Kai Akker said...


---It should be an easy question / exercise - does The New Yorker have black editors and what is their work output

Dasracisss

Mike Sylwester said...

Now that the New York Times newspaper (not The New Yorker magazine) has a Black editor, the articles are disproportionately about Black concerns.

Also the newspaper has become grossly unprofessional. For example, the news articles frequently accuse people of "lying".

Joe Smith said...

It's amazing that all of the liberal, East Coast elite who are champions of diversity draw the line at giving their own job to a deserving minority in the name of fairness and 'equity.'

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I think that for the last 20 years or so the New Yorker has had one classical music critic, Alex Ross. Perhaps they'd like to split him up into little bits, so that he can be female 6 months out of 12, Black one month out of 12, Hispanic maybe 2 months, Asian one month . . . The actual Ross might get a whole month to himself!

The point of magazines and newspapers having one or two critics assigned to cover particular material is that the critics build up a long and detailed autobiography, as it were, in essays. Sure, you can envision a world in which there's no such person as Alex Ross (or Terry Teachout, or -- going back a bit -- Virgil Thomson), but what do you actually gain, apart from Benetton-ness?

Yancey Ward said...

Shorter story:

"White men are doing all the hard work to keep the magazine going."

Though I assume a lot of them are gay like Howard and Chuck.

daskol said...

They probably do have quite a few pieces from minorities and women, which is why this pest resorted to compartmentalized claims about certain kinds of editing and writing. Weasel in the garden, may it wreck the hedges of the venerable magazine. Down with all major media brands. We have to build back better, on the ashes of these regrettable properties.

Achilles said...

Institutions dominated by Democrats and progressives are racist and misogynist. These institutions are riddled with rapists and control freaks. Just read their own words. They tell you who they are and what they want. They are constantly caught defending predators everyone knew about.

This is what they are. It is what they have always been. It was why the Democrat party was founded.

This is standard aristocratic activity.

At this point you have to be actively evil to support the Democrat party. The current leader is an admitted rapist and molests children in public.

This strikes me as very odd. I subscribe to The New Yorker and read it all the time, and I had the impression that the magazine was going out of its way to bring in black writers and women writers.

Will there ever be anything this world can do to burst that bubble you have built around yourself?

gilbar said...

My 0.02 cent's worth
They meant one out of a hundred, that is: 0.01, which is (according to the writer): 0.01%
And, as Many people here have pointed out: They're talking Editors, not Writers

There's 10 editors, and only for the last year and a half; have Any of them been black
(or, some such)

daskol said...

Organizations that empower such people deserve what they get, good and hard.

jaydub said...

My experience has been that the New Yorker has a plethora of drama queens, hysterical feminists, lesbians, trans womyn and misandrists writing articles. Doesn't really appear that they have any editors. That said, what they're really missing is the viewpoint of writers and editors of the cis gendered, non manhating pursuasion. But more to the point, what they should be hiring now are psychiatrists. No point in adding editors until the staff psychosises have been addressed because grammer and clarity are not that important when all the writers are bat-shit crazy.

Sebastian said...

"I had the impression that the magazine was going out of its way to bring in black writers and women writers"

"Passive racism" is more effective in the guise of active anti-racism.

But really, at this late date, why are women and minorities complaining about the cultural equivalents of Southern country clubs when they can build their own damn clubs for their own audiences without any impediment? Why exactly do they want to join passively racist white bastions?

Freeman Hunt said...

If you can work it just right to lock in racial percentages at every position to reflect the general population, there is a sudden puff of smoke followed by a shower of sparks that signify the magazine has become maximally great.

Jersey Fled said...

My immediate impression is:

So what?

And:

Who are the people who were hiring all those white (racist) editors for these last 15 years?

Achilles said...

"Right. I can’t speak to, agree with, even look at someone from a particular political party. Ppl aren’t human any more. If you’re black & a Democrat tells u to shove marbles up ur ass, you simply have to. If another party tells u to look out for that bus, stand there & get hit."

Nicki Minaj

Achilles said...

Minaj opened by discussing going to China and being told that she was not allowed to speak out against their leaders — and warned that the same is happening here.

A great man once said "If you don't vote for me you aint black."

But keep on keeping on. Progs are inclusive as long as you don't go against The Man.

There is no reasonable world where Joe Biden won that election without millions of fraudulent votes.

Gospace said...

At one time, during the lifetime of most of the commenters here, the majority of the USA was tuned in to ABC or CBS or NBC during primetime. Black and white, Asian and Hispanic, whatever- because the big 3 was where all the original programming was, and in many markets, was all there was, and in some markets, there was only one of them. Even if you didn't watch a particular show, the next day at work or school, if it was any good, you'd hear about it. There were publications aimed exclusively at blacks, like Jet or Ebony and some others. I don't think you can really say the rest of the print media was aimed at whites, but if aimed at the general culture- that was the white audience. Then there were magazines aimed at a specific audience. Like Model Railroader and Analog- Science Fiction-Science Fact. I'm very familiar with those two- the local stationery store owner put a copy of each aside for me each month. A lot of those type mags with a specialty audience are still around. But the major mags are mostly gone. Jet is defunct, Ebony is still around.

The top 10 shows for black audiences in the USA today have a white viewership that is statistically zero. About 13% (quick google lookup) of the USA speaks Spanish at home. The top 10 Spanish language shows in the USA are seen only by that 13%, and probably aren't available to all of them. There isn't any TV show today watched by as many viewers today as Marcus Welby MD was during it's initial run. The USA population is about 1/3 larger, and the most popular show (not sporting event) has an audience less than half the 1970s numbers. Choice has fragmented the culture.

And when people have wider choice, they gravitate towards the things they like. By age, by culture, by religion, by political beliefs. To be honest, how many black people (outside very well to do NYC black elite) have ever purchased and read a copy of New Yorker? I used to read it the school library- I've never purchased a copy. It's a white people magazine. If they started running articles and features that appealed to blacks two things would happen- 1. Their total audience would decrease 2. Their black audience of approximately zero would stay there. IOW- they'd be out of business.

BTW if you try to find a real answer to the question "Do black models on the cover of monthly fashion magazines result in fewer newsstand sales?" you're going to find the answer is yes and no, depending on who's doing the answering. The real answer- in the USA- is likely yes. In Japan it's hard to say. If you've ever been there- a very large percentage of ads use white or black Americans as spokespeople or models. When I was in Hong Kong it was split between whites and Chinese almost according to the population. In Korea- the models and spokespeople were Korean.

Joe Smith said...

'Now that the New York Times newspaper (not The New Yorker magazine) has a Black editor, the articles are disproportionately about Black concerns.'

Not sure who the editors of the 'Wall Street Journal' weekend sections are, but the content has morphed into 'Ebony Magazine.'

Narr said...

I was told there would be no math.

As for Southern country clubs, maybe the lady is right and they were uniquely a Southern thing in their exclusivity . . . I wouldn't know. We had some friends and relatives who were members of one or another around here at times, but that wasn't our world, at all.

Perhaps non-Southern country clubs were bastions of inclusion in comparison, but that seems a little too convenient to The Narrative to go unquestioned.

Big Mike said...

I suppose two things. First, that the writer made the typical mistake made by elementary school students who’ve just learned about percentages: take X articles edited by a black editor divided by Y total articles to get 0.01, then reporting it as 0.01 percent when it is actually 1%. Still damning, but a hundred times less so than before. If the number really is one out of ten thousand, which is what 0.01% is, then the magazine must have black people with the salary and job title of “editor,”. but almost none are entrusted with no real editing assignments at all.

Second, given the extreme liberal slant of the magazine I can safely assume that we are seeing “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” as someone once put it.*. You don’t challenge your black staff or give them meaty assignments because — utterly subconsciously — you view your black staffers as not really at the same level as your white employees. The phrase “affirmative action hire” about captures it.
________
* Yes, I know who. I am playing with you.

William said...

I think The New Yorker probably has more Black writers and editors than Black readers and subscribers. I just don't think the Blacks are a big part of their readership....I read Jelani Cobb's article on critical race theory in this week's issue. She reported on Derrick Bell's changing views on integration. Integration, Bell discovered, was all part of a scam. Whites only act in their own self interest, and integration was advanced to further strategic Cold War aims. It's edifying and instructive for whites to learn of these things by reading The New Yorker.

Quaestor said...

Althouse writes, "I had the impression that the magazine was going out of its way to bring in black writers and women writers."

Why not surprise the literary world and publish good writers for a change?

Bunkypotatohead said...

The academic and media elites are coming to the realization that the institutional racism they complain of is being perpetrated by themselves.
Not that they'll learn anything from this. They'll just double down until they put themselves out of business.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Balfegor said...

I.e. Jews were apparently not, in fact, barred from membership in 1968. Contrary to what I had believed to be the case.

When Augusta National opened in 1933 they sent letters out to prominent Georgians inviting them to apply for membership. This included Jewish businessmen in Atlanta.

Narayanan said...

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...
Balfegor said...

I.e. Jews were apparently not, in fact, barred from membership in 1968. Contrary to what I had believed to be the case.

When Augusta National opened in 1933 they sent letters out to prominent Georgians inviting them to apply for membership. This included Jewish businessmen in Atlanta.
------------
that was cliffhanger (holding my breath)

were any accepted when they responded?
did any respond expecting acceptance?

rehajm said...

"If you can work it just right to lock in racial percentages at every position to reflect the general population, there is a sudden puff of smoke followed by a shower of sparks that signify the magazine has become maximally great."

Wow- I saw this the other day when I was rescuing a turtle from the middle of the road. I thought it was just swamp gas...

Eric said...

Not everyone can edit a 3,000 word submission into a 14,000 word publication. Maybe that explains this.

Joe T. said...

The fact that this story appeared on NPR's web-site is interesting to me. NPR has taken steps to add diverse people to its lineup. Quite a few of its presenters are African American or Latino. One of its best shows, Snap Judgement, is hosted by Glynn Washington, an African American. It devotes a segment of Weekend Edition to new releases by Latin American pop musicians. Latino America is a weekly NPR show about Latino interests. By the way, I've yet to hear its presenter, Maria Hinojosa, use the term LatinX.

Despite these efforts, NPR's listeners are almost exclusively white, college educated, and upper middle class.

Fernandinande said...

"... I had the impression that the magazine was going out of its way to bring in black writers and women writers."

That's an easy impression to get when anti-male sexism and anti-white racism are both expected.

dbp said...

0.01% is one in ten thousand. Let's say the New Yorker has 20 staff editors. Over 15 years, that's 300 editor years or 3,600 editor months. If they only had one black staff editor in all that time and it was only for one month, that editor would be expected to account for 1/3,600th of the 15-year work load. This is 3.6 times 1/10,000. Is this a round-about way of saying that they had a black editor for a grand total of one week in the last 15 years? Even if you're trying to get fired, it usually takes more than a week and are we to believe the New Yorker only gave one black person an editor job in all that time?

My conclusion is that the 0.01% number was pulled from thin air by someone who is an innumerate.

Or, to be generous: The New Yorker may have a very good handle on the total number of pieces they've published over the last 15 years, but poor documentation on editing tasks. So here's the "equation" used:

number of pieces where we could ascertain that the person who edited it was black/Total number of pieces

Lewis Wetzel said...

There is a lot of strangeness in the NPR story. And by "strangeness," I mean assumptions that take you to strange places. One is the idea that the people who run the New Yorker are "passive racists."
"White people are rarely actively racist at these publications. They simply never bother to challenge the status quo—typically out of concern that they will be inconvenienced or made to feel uncomfortable. And so the status quo often remains entrenched for literally decades. ... Because otherwise friendly, decent white people are really the bedrock upon which passive racism maintains its grip on media mastheads & editorial departments."
So the solution is to be actively "anti-racist"? Meaning employee's promotions and responsibilities will be explicitly based on their immutable racial characteristics?
The article mentions that the online version of the New Yorker has many more minority editors and contributors than the print version.
What would a "non-racist" editorial and contributor group look like at the New Yorker? Should it resemble the demographics of the United States, or the demographics of the available pool of workers? Should it resemble the demographics of subscribers?

JAORE said...

Editing involves issues like spelling, grammar and flow.

All things included in the sphere of systemic racism.

PM said...

I don't give a crap about its editors, but the NYer could easily lose writers like Kolbert and Brody and replace them with...Nicki Minaj! Suddenly, a 1.5 million readership becomes 157 MILLION. Plus, Hilton Als would love it.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

NPR:
White people are rarely actively racist at these publications. They simply never bother to challenge the status quo—typically out of concern that they will be inconvenienced or made to feel uncomfortable. And so the status quo often remains entrenched for literally decades. ... Because otherwise friendly, decent white people are really the bedrock upon which passive racism maintains its grip on media mastheads & editorial departments.

Shorter NPR: White leftists are the worst racists in America. Always have been, always will be. So just get over it

Lurker21 said...

I will apologize this in advance, but my first reaction was that the New Yorker wants to take the same political positions as Teen Vogue, but still wants to read like the New Yorker, rather than like Teen Vogue.